Inverse Daily: The universe in a box

Picture the universe. Now, try to imagine even a fraction of it squeezed into a box the size of your screen.

Good Monday morning, and for those of you also in the United States, be a friend to a veteran in your life today.

I’m Nick Lucchesi, executive editor at Inverse, and this is Inverse Daily. Let’s get into it.

This article is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day.

INVERSE QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We’re always looking for opportunities to connect with Warner Bros. with movies we’re excited about coming out in 2020.”

— Alan Abdine of anime studio Rooster Teeth.

The best sandwich in America will ruin your day

If you’re a “supertaster,” life can be rough. The delicious pairing of savory and bitter foods on, say, a roast pork sandwich from the famous DiNic’s counter in Philadelphia will never be something you’ll enjoy. In the words of one scientist, it’s a “ruin-your-day level of bitter.” It’s a cruel fate to have to avoid what’s been called America’s best sandwich.

As such, genetic “supertasters” have been shown to avoid veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, and even some dark chocolate or beer, a new study has revealed. They do it at a much higher rate than you might think, too.

New research on the matter will be presented this coming weekend at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions conference in — where else? — Philadelphia.

Here’s what the scientists learned →

More taste research:

Marijuana may put young users at risk of a dangerous condition

A new analysis of 43,000 adults revealed a potential link between frequent marijuana use and experiencing a stroke. Researchers found that those who consumed cannabis, but — and this is important — did not additionally use any tobacco products for more than 10 days a month were 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke compared to non-users.

The study authors emphasize that this research is not a cause-and-effect study, and more research on dosage amount, frequency of use, and the health profile of marijuana users are needed before conclusions can be made.

But what makes this study especially unique is that the study population were individuals between the ages of 18 and 44. And while a person of any age can experience a stroke, people under 65 often don’t. Here, it looks like this young population could be at a higher risk of stroke — and it’s a matter that scientists want to examine further.

Read the new story →

More marijuana research:

Monday’s rare transit of Mercury will be the last for at least 13 years

Today, people around the world will be looking to the skies. Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet, is set to pass directly between the Earth and our shared star. It’s a rare astronomical phenomenon — and you might be able to watch it.

A Mercury year lasts a mere 88 days — a quick jaunt compared to Earth’s own orbital period of 365 days, or the molasses-like 165-year-long orbit of Neptune, the furthest-most planet from the Sun. As it follows the path of its orbit, Mercury passes between the Sun and Earth every 116 days, but an event like Monday’s only occurs every so often (the last one happened in May 2016).

Here’s when you can look for Mercury →

More Mercury news:

INPUT

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“Universe in a box” traces galactic history of the Milky Way

Picture the universe: More than 20 billion particles of dark matter, stars, galaxies, supermassive black holes, gas, and magnetic fields, all interacting together over the course of 13.8 billion years of the early cosmic age. Now, try to imagine even a fraction of it squeezed into a box the size of your screen.

That’s precisely what a team of scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have done. Using new computer simulation techniques, the team has reconstructed a slice of space some 230 million light-years away.

While they can’t peer back in time, this simulation may be the next best thing — allowing astrophysicists to observe in unprecedented detail the early evolution of thousands of galaxies.

Read more →

More Milky Way stories:

Bioinspired fake rhino horns poised to disrupt black market

Despite conservation efforts, rhinos around the world are in danger. A large part of this decline is thanks to poachers hunting and killing rhinos to sell their horns on the black market for a big price. But now, material scientists hope to tackle this problem by introducing lifelike, fake rhino horns into the market instead.

And doing it, the researchers found, was surprisingly easy. Because rhino horns are more like tough tufts of hair than they are true horns, researchers were able to replace them using horsehair and a silk-based resin. They found that these artificial horns not only looked like the real deal, but they behaved like it, too.

In addition to helping disrupt black market rhino horn selling, the researchers hope this strong yet bendy material could be used for other material science applications as well.

Read more →

More news about rhinos:

Meanwhile …

  • Here are 6 truly bizarre facts about the human skeleton.
  • NASA captured an X-ray bursting from a crushed star, and it looks unreal.
  • Rick and Morty may have just revealed the show’s most intimidating supervillain yet.
  • Watchmen Episode 4 fuels a wild theory about Adrian Veidt’s plot.
  • Star Wars IX theory teases a mindblowing young Luke Skywalker flashback.

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That’s all for today!

Thank you for reading, and if you have a suggestion for how to make this newsletter better, drop me a line at nick@inverse.com. And follow me on Twitter, where I retweet the best of Inverse every day.